A recent report surveying the post-pandemic business world has suggested the average workweek has expanded by 30%. The same study also shows that productivity levels have remained the same—in other words, we are working longer but without the results to show for it. Technology has become irreplaceably essential to help organizations function in the current hybrid workforce (think Zoom, online chat windows, texting, and email).
There are volumes of information available to help leaders and organizations better “run” the hybrid organization (think mechanics, efficiencies, etc.). However, leading a group of frustrated and over-worked people is different in every scenario and requires some thought.
However, two factors that can help every organization generate buy-in and commitment to drive up engagement and production are clarity and accountability. But how do you regenerate pre-Covid problem solving and motivation from a fatigued, switched-off group of associates?
First, eliminate the “Single Point of Failure” by clarifying roles and responsibilities. The Single Point of Failure is the individual who emerges as the hero during times of crisis to solve all the problems, initiate action, and push (or pull) the organization along with their super-human endurance and will. Many organizations give additional responsibilities to these sometimes informal leaders because they become the system themselves. However, this is detrimental to the engagement level of the whole team. Elimination of the Single Point of Failure in and out of crisis builds a more resilient team of connected individuals who solve problems together. These team members have clarity of their individual roles and understand the expectations of their performance.
The next step is more difficult and requires individual courage and candor. Leaders must hold associates accountable for their performance and enforce associate performance expectations and role responsibilities. This is where conflict comes into play—teammates must hold one another accountable and this can be difficult based on organizational dynamics. This is where conflict avoidance or unhealthy attacks can also come into play, negatively affecting the entire team. Whether it’s addressing the subpar performing leader who lacks initiative or that Single Point of Failure who bullies their way through production to generate results, leaders must act in these challenging scenarios. The disengaged employee will stay disengaged; the frustration that comes with a lack of initiative will remain until leaders at all levels of an organization hold their teams accountable for their performance.
So, there you have it. There isn’t a new business operating model or some secret sauce that will fix engagement in the hybrid organization by itself. Leaders must strive for clarity and enforce accountability in our new reality to regain, renew, and regenerate employee engagement and productivity. This is a leader’s purpose, and if it were easy, everyone would be doing it!